Monday, December 28, 2015

Retirement rant

I am of the age where retirement news and information is repeatedly thrust at me.  So the topic is often in my thoughts.

Recently, I overheard a woman saying "I'm not unemployed.  I worked for 20 years.  I'm retired."

Working doesn't entitle you to retirement.  Saving enough money entitles you to retirement.

If you've got enough money to retire, great.  If you can't live on your Social Security (which you paid into so it's not an entitlement) and your pensions, then you have to keep working.

Simple as that.

When did retirement become the goal?  People didn't always expect to retire.  In many places, they still don't.  Work is what you do to survive. Or it's what you do to keep active and engaged.

My mother complained about being bored. I suggested she find a part-time job.

She was aghast.  "I'm 70 years old.  I deserve to not work."

Not if being retired is boring.

Not if you can use the money to support your activities, hobbies, charities.

Not if you can't afford it.

Not if you would miss the conversation, interaction, mental stimulation of work.

Retirement is an option, not a requirement.

When did working into your 70's and 80's become so newsworthy?  When Joan Rivers died, a fuss was made over the fact that she still worked.  She loved her job.  Why should she quit?

Betty White is 93 and still working.  Bob Newhart is 86 and still working.  When I started with my current company, one of the developers working there was 78.

People talk about When I retire, I'll do this.  I'll do that.  There is no guarantee that you will be able to do all the things you plan after you stop working.  Your health or finances may prevent it.  If it's important to you, do it now.

I've realized that if I retired I would spend time with the dogs, Bogie and I would visit the hospital, I would read, work on stained glass, putter in the garden, watch movies.

All of which I do now.  Work is my stimulation, the place I get my intellectual challenges.

Maybe it's different because I like my job.  I can understand why people would want to leave a job they hate.

Even so, retirement is something you have to plan for.  It's not something you are entitled to.  It's also not something you are required to do.  Work if you want.  Retire if you can afford it.

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